Louisville author Kirby Gann's debut novel begins, literally, with a bang—a train accident involving the narrator's father—and then moves quickly on to a scene in which the narrator himself, Gabriel, goes for a bike ride during a tornado. And those two incidents are just a taste of the headlong adventures and visceral experiences in which the characters will find themselves. The Barbarian Parade traces Gabriel's life from that bike ride when he is 8 through a soccer-centered adolescence, during which his father is imprisoned, and into a young adulthood of unfulfilled dreams. Sometimes startling in its frank descriptiveness, the novel paints a clear picture of a young man in turmoil, searching for unattainable gratification and love, and a family disintegrating before our eyes.
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